Vigilance needed to boost motorbike safety

27 Aug, 2003 10:00 PM
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FARMSAFE has called on parents to be vigilant about their children's safety when using All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) and motorbikes.

Recent hospital emergency data has found that agricultural motorbikes had been responsible for between 8-11pc of on-farm injuries, with more than 22pc of cases being admitted or transferred for further treatment.

Farmsafe WA chairman Tony Hiscock said parents need to realise the machines were potentially dangerous and correct safety procedures needed to be followed.

"Adults (specifically parents), have an important socialization role in influencing how their children drive and the nature of their risk taking," Mr Hiscock said.

And its males aged 15-19 that are at most risk, according to a study documenting self-reported injury prevlance in adolescents.

The study found that 92pc of two-wheeled and 50pc of ATV riders came from this age group.

Mr Hiscock said research had found that the most significant method of eliminating risk was through proper driver training.

"It's not the machines that are the problem - it is the way they are used."

Mr Hiscock's warning follows a series of ATV incidents involving children and adults, which have resulted in death and injury in recent years.

While the overall prevalence of injuries on two-wheeled motorcycles is higher, injuries sustained from ATVs tend to be of a more serious nature.

Research by the Rural and Remote Health Education at Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health has found that the injury pattern for agricultural motorcycles is strongly gender and age biased, with young males being significantly at risk.

It found that death and injury in adolescents results from a range of risk factors including a higher level of risk-taking, lack of experience, poor rider skill, physiological characteristics such as body size and weight, immature psychomotor and cognitive skills and poor vehicle maintenance.

In addition to the apparent social aspects of injury, there are cascading economic costs including medical treatment, rehabilitation, lost work time, mechanical repair of vehicles, replacement staff costs and potential increases in workers compensation claims.

The annual expenditure on farm injury is about $1.3 billion annually.

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